Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

An eBay Dinner Party

Decorative plates are, to me, a great cultural weirdness. If you want to put a saturated-color image of John Kennedy on display, for example, that's great, but why should the image be on a dinner plate? If you are so moved by The Last Supper that you want to hang a reproduction on your wall, I will find that a reflection of human character and decorative instinct. But, again, why porcelain and not canvas? Me, I always think that when the plates are not serving as artistic expression they should be doing double duty as a platform for dinner. I have vague plans to accrue a bunch of Last Supper dinner plates and use them for a Passover Seder.

Less ambitiously, I've recently found some plates on eBay that would be just perfect for a casual dinner with friends.

At the head of the table you've got to have a Jesus plate, since there are so very many available. I don't mean to be mocking sincere expressions of religious belief, but it's hard to maintain solemnity and awe when Jesus is wearing full stage makeup in an image that sits in the well of a Homer Laughlin dinner plate.

Pope Pius XII was one of the most important (if controversial) popes of the 20th century. What better way to honor his memory than to slap down a bunch of mashed potatoes and gravy on his pontifical visage?

If you look carefully, you'll see that the pope plate shows a great deal of wear, just as a plate that was actually used (and put through a dishwasher) would show. A plate used solely for display maintains its platinum trim.

For the next dinner guest we can provide a plate that I actually own. I imagine that a 1950s housewife was encouraged to serve her husband on this plate, so that as he ate his dinner the taunting, whining, nagging message came clear and stared at him throughout the meal. Perhaps I don't understand something about the marriage dynamic, but is this funny or is this childish and manipulative?

For the final place setting I am speechless. I have no idea what this is. A portrait of friends? A commemoration of International Brotherhood Week? A bride and her bridesmaid? Who painted it and how and where? Is this representative of a particular artist's style, or of a particular genre? Was it meant to sit on the piano? Over the fireplace? Under a batch of brownies? Nobody bid on this. I came very very close to buying it.

Up next: Mugs and glasses!
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